US’ underlying assumptions on Iran
Driven by a genuine desire to rid the Middle East and the globe of terrorism and wars – and reflecting a long track record and ingrained worldview – Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Special Emissary Rob Malley and CIA Director William Burns are determined to reach a credible agreement with Iran’s Ayatollahs. They are resolute to induce the Iranian leopard to change spots, not merely tactics.
Convinced that Iran’s rogue conduct is not driven by an inherent, fanatic, megalomaniacal vision, Secretary Blinken is bent on limiting US policy toward Iran to diplomacy, while ruling out the military option and regime-change.
Adhering to multilateral foreign and national security policy – rather than a unilateral, independent US policy – Blinken shapes his policy toward Iran by according a significant role to vacillating Europe and the pro-Iran UN, as well as greater alignment with Russia and China.
Confident that a generous diplomatic and economic package will make the Ayatollahs regime amenable to credible negotiation, peaceful coexistence and departure from their 1,400-year-old religiously fanatic, imperialistic vision, the Biden team is resolved to take lightly the rogue track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs since the 1978/79 revolution, which overthrew the pro-US Shah, catapulted the rogue Ayatollahs to power, and transformed Iran into “The Islamic Republic,” which considers the US “The Great Satan.”
Consumed by his view of the Ayatollahs as credible partners in negotiation, Blinken has decided to accord his assessment of the Ayatollahs’ future conduct more weight than the Ayatollahs’ past conduct.
Trusting that Iran’s Ayatollahs prefer to be preoccupied with “butter” rather than “guns,” Blinken’s policy on Iran is focused on diplomatic negotiation, not military confrontation
Iran threatening the US from Latin America
Notwithstanding the aforementioned assumptions, the regime of the Ayatollahs has been systematically involved in regional and global subversion, terrorism and wars, while brainwashing their population through fanatic, anti-“infidel” (Christians, Jews, Bahais, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, etc.) and anti-“apostate” (Sunni Muslims) school curriculum, religious sermons and massive public events.
For example, Iran’s Ayatollahs closely collaborate with Hezbollah, the proxy of Iran’s Quds Force, which is the arm of the Revolutionary Guard, responsible for the exportation of the Islamic revolution. They have intensified their surge into South and Central America, from Chile (especially with the December 2021 election of President Boric) to Mexico. They consider Latin America to be the soft underbelly of the US.
Iran and Hezbollah have established an elaborate regional and global infrastructure of terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting, fundraising, training, conversion to Islam, recruitment and media centers, as well as testing advanced military systems. They forged strategic alliances with anti-US regimes (e.g., Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia), breaking their international isolation, and collaborating with drug cartels and terror organizations.
Since the November 2009 Ahmadinejad visit to Venezuela, Iran has benefitted from uranium mines in Venezuela and Bolivia.
The entrenchment of Iran and Hezbollah in Latin America has undermined the US regional and global posture; intensified their global war on the US; established an income-generating platform to support terrorism and the development of advanced military and terror capabilities. They have spread the Shiite Islamic revolution and global Jihad (“Holy War”) through a multitude of mosques, seminaries and “Islamic cultural centers;” and installed a support-platform for sleeper-cells in the US.
The US-Mexico border has been targeted by Iran and Hezbollah, with the latter being involved in kidnapping, human smuggling, extortion, as well as drug and arms trafficking. They are expanding the proliferation of drugs from Mexico to the Middle East and Europe, sharing their terroristic experience with Mexican drug cartels (e.g., car bombing, improvised explosive devices, narco-tunnels along the US border).
However, the principal safe haven for Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, have been the lawless, corrupt and explosive tri border areas (TBA) of Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil and Chile-Peru (the world’s largest cocaine producer)-Bolivia (the world’s 3rd cocaine producer) with their substantial population of Shiite Lebanese expatriates.
According to the Small Wars Journal, “There are no fewer than 145 Iranian diplomats in Bolivia, as well as a strong Iranian military presence…. Illicit activity like narcotics and human smuggling flows between the two TBAs…. With thousands of converts to Islam and counting, Hezbollah can generate cells in Latin America more rapidly with not only continual financial assistance from Iran, but with a social network operation across the region…. Iranian and Hezbollah operatives travel around the region to fundraise, launder money, train and recruit prospective sympathizers, plot against their enemies [e.g., the US], and conduct other terrorist-related activities…. Chile’s ports are an indispensable resource as Iran is regularly taking advantage by docking its vessels….”
The Canada-based IranWire adds that “In recent years, the TBA of Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil has become the epicenter of world cocaine trafficking and narco-terrorism… with logistic support from Colombian, Mexican and Venezuelan cartels…. Hezbollah earns about $2bn annually through illegal drug trafficking in the TBA…. Hezbollah maintains links with some of the most violent cartels in Latin America, including Mexico’s Los Zetas, Columbia’s FARC [and Oficina de Envigado] and Brazil’s PCC… helping them to obtain weapons and access to international smuggling networks outside Latin America…. the most visible [Iranian media outlet] in Latin America is the 24-hour-news broadcaster HispanTV, a Spanish language arm of Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)… airing in at least 16 countries….”
The bottom line
*Reality has demonstrated that the Iranian leopard will not change spots; only tactics.
*Reality has established that Iran’s Ayatollahs are driven by a fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal vision, and not by despair and eagerness to be accepted internationally. Therefore, they are more concerned with “guns” than “butter,” and are not amenable to credible negotiation, peaceful coexistence, human rights and democracy. They should be dealt militarily rather than diplomatically.
*Reality has determined that waving the military option and regime change, while dealing with a rogue regime, amounts to concession.
*The reality of vacillating Europe and anti-US United Nations suggests that subordinating the US’ unilateral national security action to multilateralism is the best-case-scenario for Iran’s Ayatollahs.
*US policy on Iran should be based on the Ayatollahs’ objective past track record, which should not be sacrificed on the altar of the Ayatollahs’ subjective and speculative future track record.